Graham Christie
Dec 11, 2014

Mobile futures: What could 2015 have in store for us?

The Mobile Hub: Graham Christie of Big Mobile checks in with his monthly look at key mobile news. This time, the outlook for 2015.

Graham Christie
Graham Christie

Closing in on channel parity

It’s been a huge year for mobile across the region, and next year will be bigger again, according to Morgan Stanley, which believes that globally, the mobile web will be bigger than desktop by the end of CY2015.

That’s quite a big call. However there are already 40 countries where this is the case, according to StatCounter. And these, as we would expect, are countries where there has been little to no fixed internet, such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. 

But taking a closer look at this data set across APAC shows a similar decline in desktop, and a hastening adoption, with smartphones and tablets accounting for traffic volumes as follows: Indonesia (43.1 per cent), Singapore (42.3), Thailand (38.1), Malaysia (36.6), Hong Kong (33.3), Australia (32.5), Philippines (26.2), and New Zealand (24.6).

So regionally, it’s fair to say that many of our markets will be close to parity within the next 12 to 18 months. I can’t put the implication of this better than Aodhan Cullen, CEO, of StatCounter: “Websites should be preparing for a mobile-first world if they have not done so already. There are huge challenges and opportunities for businesses to adapt to this trend.”

Spend behaviours accelerating

In the US, eMarketer published some data from mid-year in October. Its Advertiser Perceptions – Wave Two study shows advertisers forecasting a 78 per cent increase in overall spend. The 40 per cent of advertisers that plan to increase mobile spend say they will fund that from redeploying traditional print budgets, 34 per cent from TV, and 32 per cent, interestingly, from online display. Meanwhile, 39 per cent of respondents said that a bigger mobile spend would come from an overall increase in the ad budget.

What objectives? What device?

In the same study, eMarketer made an effort to contrast the performance differences between smartphones and tablets across key attributes.

Highlights:

  • Regarding audience reach and composition, 49 per cent thought the two devices delivered the same performance, with 38 per cent specifying the smartphone was better.
  • Ability to target across BT, geo, context, etc., saw smartphones having a clear edge with support from 36 per cent of respondents versus 12 per cent for tablet. 
  • On ability to generate results such as conversions, sales, and awareness, smartphones got the nod at 36 per cent versus tablets at 22 per cent.
  • Whether either was the best platform for ‘my advertising’ was almost bang on 50 per cent.
  • Tablet has the ascendancy in user experience, where 49 per cent felt tablets performed better compared to 17 per cent for smartphone.

For APAC, we should take these as indicative. But what’s clear is that marketers see both devices sharing the ability to deliver against important attributes. In this study as a whole, the takeaway is straightforward: Migrate spend and/or upweight overall spend, and have confidence that the campaign can be targeted and can deliver results.

Samsung under pressure, and might need half of 2015 to resolve it

The life of manufacturing behemoths is commonly quite turbulent, and Samsung is no exception. The company that lagged behind Apple, then responded with eye-watering speed-to-market and innovation to inevitably take the top position, has encountered some turbulence. Based on IDC data, Samsung’s mobile revenue and profits are tumbling, and the emerging markets across APAC are in so small part a cause. 

Samsung is getting squeezed at the top end of the market by Apple, but more significantly I think being muscled at the entry and middle levels by Asian brands like Lenovo, Huawei, Ningbo Bird and Xiaomi. In Xiaomi’s case the recipe is clear: affordability, aggressive market share tactics and relentless upgrades, with software features for many models being updated every Friday at 5 pm with the press of one key. To put affordability into perspective, in the wonderful consumer tech mall palaces of KL or Jakarta, you can pick up a basic Android-powered 5-inch smartphone for US$20. At the time of writing, Samsung has announced the exit of key executives.

HTML5 now established as the standard

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the folks who pretty much guide the web, have stamped ‘Recommendation’ status on the published standards for HTML5. This is an important ‘gate’ for the mobile industry, as the device manufacturers are now exhibiting a lot of confidence to really get behind HTML5 and invest fully. This confidence is illustrated in this chart.

The knock on effect, of course, is that those who are developing and designing brand experiences on smart devices have confidence to learn, train, build experience and collaborate.

Planning for more mobile in 2015?

For those looking to take mobile to the next level (hint: everyone), the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), recently published quite an extensive guide to mobile marketing. The guide covers consumer focus, strategy, toolbox, ROI, effectiveness, and measurement.

A ‘Final thought’

The feedback I get all the time from digital marketers about mobile, is exasperation over having so much to consider and do. 2015 will be genuinely pivotal for most organisations in regards to mobile. The prize of getting it right is now so significant, and the risk of lagging behind so great, that real leadership is needed. CMOs and agency principals alike need to invest ahead, fully support their key teams, be laser-focused on only the very top (2) commercial and strategic imperatives, and apply a less is more approach to task setting.

See you in 2015.

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